By: Una Zabunov
Belgrade, Nov.24, 2009 (Serbia Today) - According to Diabetes Association of Serbia, the number of people suffering from diabetes is approximately 450 000, and that number is constantly growing. Diabetes is a chronic, incurable systemic metabolic disorder that is characterized by permanently high blood glucose. Diabetes is a hereditary, and is due to reduced secretion or reduced biological effects of the hormone insulin, or the combination of these two factors. This disease is a consequence of reduced secretion or reduced biological effects of the hormone insulin, or combinations of these two factors.
Rodoljub Zivkovic, Honorary President of Diabetes Association of Serbia said that increased blood sugar is not painful and most people do not have the impression that something is wrong with their health until diabetes has already damaged their health, in many cases permanently. Zivkovic’s personal experienced with diabetes followed this exact pattern, and he diagnosed himself as having diabetes by accident.
"My grandmother and mom were diabetics, and I searched for medicine for them and I learned about the company MediSense which was selling a revolutionary device for measuring blood sugar,” recounts Zivkovic of his early years battling diabetes.
“Soon after I discovered this device, I started selling the device for measuring blood sugar in Serbia. Once I had to show a skeptical customer how the device works, so I had to prick my finger to get a blood sample for the test and when I looked in the device I realized that I had a serious blood sugar imbalance," said Zivkovic.
Hereditary factors often play a major role in occurrence of diabetes. The propensity for diabetes is transmitted directly to offspring, and the manifestation of the disease also depends on other factors in the course of life. Obesity is a major factor, because people suffering from obesity, over time, reduce the sensitivity of beta-cells to increasing concentrations of glucose in the blood, and in addition the number of insulin receptors in target tissues is reduced.
In the treatment of diabetes, doctors use several approaches; insulin in combination with diet, medicines in combination with diet, and in some cases a restrictive diet is sufficient. According to Honorary President of Diabetes Association of Serbia, people with diabetes in Serbia have access to everything available in any Western treatment program, including all medicines, tests, and trained medical professionals. He also stressed that education about this disease is based on a completely voluntary basis. People with diabetes do not have a great willingness to learn more about their disease. In Serbia, there is a National Commission for Diabetes, which, in general, is not consulted by the State, according to Zivkovic.
Diabetes has two clinical manifestations; Type I and Type II. Diabetes Type I is the most common type that younger people under thirty years of age develop. The basis of this disease is an autoimmune process that destroys pancreatic beta-cells, so that there is an absence of circulating insulin and hyperglycemia. Given that the survival of inflicted people depend on lifelong treatment with insulin, this type of diabetes is called insulin-dependent. Type I diabetes can occur as a result of infectious or toxic environmental factors, which, in genetically predisposed individuals trigger an immune system response that destroys beta-cells. Type II diabetes occurs as a result of various abnormalities at the level of peripheral tissues. Patients who develop this form of diabetes are usually older than 40 years of age and obese. These people do not need insulin for survival, but eventually, decreased insulin secretion and insulin is required in order to achieve optimal glycerin regulation.
The Diabetes Association of Serbia, which is supported by the International Federation for Diabetes since 2000, is leading a battle against ignorance of this disease. The fight is primarily directed to increased public awareness of diabetes, and educating the public on detection treatment. The biggest challenge in this battle is public indifference and lack of awareness.